Potholes pile up as snow melts

February 8, 2011 3:25:29 PM PST
New York City's pothole problems could be the worst in years thanks to the brutal winter.

But instead of adding workers to fix the craters, the city went ahead with furloughs of road workers this month.

It's now taking city workers longer to fill potholes than it did a few years ago.

The result this winter is something that's all too familiar to anybody who drives in the city - flats tires, and then calling for a tow truck.

Joe Bizarro, along with at least 11 other people got flat tires on Tuesday morning, while driving a bumpy span of the Henry Hudson just north of the George Washington Bridge.

The tire was fixed and this pothole victim on his way back to work, a couple of hours of late.

Regardless, it's infuriating to so many drivers that this year the city has furloughed many of the very people who fix potholes.

"Listen, we're taxpayers. We don't deserve this. We don't deserve this. These holes should be filled. The lanes should be closed. People shouldn't have to get a flat tire, pay $180 to be towed off the bridge and then have to buy new tires," Bizarro said.

Due to budget cuts the mayor asked street crew workers to give up five days of work in January, February and March. That's the worst time for potholes.

"Well, we need them all year long. Maintenance needs are more labor intensive in the spring summer and fall months," DOT Assistant Commissioner Galileo Orlando said.

City officials say more workers are needed for heavier street work in the summer.

The workers' union agreed to the days off to avoid permanent layoffs.

All that's little consolation to any of us who drive.

"I'd say at least 70 percent of the roads and highways are real bad. My tires blew out on the highway about a week ago," Rob Roman said.